Irish born jockey Cillín Leonard was always under no illusions that being a jump jockey was ever going to be easy however the young lad from Beaumont, in Dublin has the right attitude and work ethics to go far in this competitive sport.
Leonard had been going through the motions in the Irish racing scene though was struggling to really make a breakthrough, so he made the decision to pack his bags, and head to Britain.
Now based in Stratford Upon Avon with ambitious trainer Olly Murphy, Leonard is prepared to put the work in to get the results.
Cillín Leonard is a name to note this forthcoming jump season. We had the pleasure of an exclusive interview with the talented rider.
Tell us about yourself
I’m 22 originally from Dublin I’ve been a conditional jockey for 3 years and currently working for Olly Murphy in Stratford, England.
How did you get interested in racing?
I got into racing at 15/16 years old, when I went to the racing academy in Kildare. My uncle owned a few horses, so the interest has always been there.
What was your most memorable winner?
My most memorable victory would have to be on Supreme steel, as he was my first winner in Thurles, I always rode him at home and he could be quite sharp and difficult at times however I had a great relationship with him. it was great he happened to be my first.
Watch the video below of Cillin’s family celebrating his first success
What is your all-time favourite horse?
My favourite horse would probably have to be Hurricane fly as he was so tough through his races, such a pleasure to watch.
What are your ambitions for the season ahead?
My ambitions for this season is to try get as many rides/winners as possible and stay injury free.
Do you still feel nervous when riding well fancied horses?
Yes of course you feel slightly nervous on a favourite, but I ride every horse to the best of my ability. It’s good to be slightly nervous.
How do you deal with pressure?
I tend not to let the pressure get to me, I always find once you’re on the horse you try your best and you can’t do much more than that.
Give us a horse to follow?
It’s hard to give one to follow, as I’m in Olly Murphy’s we have such a great bunch of horses in for the season ahead I wouldn’t be able to pick just one.
How do you stay on top of your game constantly?
It’s extremely hard as a young jockey to keep on top of your game, you’re always trying to better yourself, your determination definitely has to be second to none.
Have you ever encountered an Internet troll? How do you deal with them?
Yes, I’ve dealt with a few internet trolls but not many. I try my best not pay any attention to them. I am focussed on my career as a jockey not about getting in a spat with anyone.
How do you unwind away from horse racing?
I find running a great way to get away from horse racing to clear your mind, also that I find golf a great getaway sport.